Lessor International Lease Finance (ILFC) expects some if not all of its initial Boeing 787 deliveries to be impacted by the twinjet's latest delay.
The aircraft leasing giant is scheduled to take delivery of its first 787s in 2010; it is slated to accept a total ten for the year. “But we don’t know now,” revealed ILFC president John Plueger in an interview with ATI, flightglobal.com's premium sister news site.
“Those [787s] that are coming the first half of the year , I would not be surprised if they were impacted,” he says, adding, however, that it is possible that the entire batch of 10 aircraft could be affected.
Boeing in October 2007 opted to delay initial 787 deliveries by six months. At that time, about 15 airlines were affected by the shift in delivery of between 30 and 35 Boeing 787s from 2008 to 2009.
The airframer has just announced a further delay to the 787’s first flight, and pushed back initial deliveries from late 2008 to early 2009. It says will complete new delivery timetables for airlines by the end of the first quarter.
When the initial delay was announced, ILFC was advised by Boeing that the lessor would not be impacted “and we in turn advised our customers at the time that we should not be impacted”, says Plueger. “However, as a matter of prudence, we advised them to take alternative steps for deliveries in the first half of 2010.”
That initial delay saw carriers scrambling to implement contingencies to support operations earmarked for the 787. Air China, for example, had planned to return two Boeing 767-300ERs on lease from ILFC in the May/June 2008 timeframe, but requested and received an extension to the lease.
“Even though we had tentatively placed those aircraft [767s] with another airline, we have been able to work with Air China to allow them to keep those aircraft for an additional three to five months to get them through the Olympics,” says Plueger. “Other lessors are doing the same.”
The ILFC president believes Boeing has “done their best job of getting a handle on” issues impacting the production schedule.
“There is so much more subcontractor supplier scheduling that is impacting this program so I actually think it is very truly difficult for Boeing to be able to a really accurate assessment,” he says.
He also notes that production and certification comes at a time when the entire supply chain in aerospace “is at maximum capability to produce. I think that is somewhat compounding difficulties with delays on the 787”.
Source: flightglobal.com's premium news site Air Transport Intelligence news